A Recap: Cleveland’s First Full Week Open

Cleveland opens its doors full time with masks on Sept. 1 welcoming all students for their 2021-2022 year.


Clarion photo Thomas Mason

Powell Park Court and field being used during lunch time by Cleveland Students on the third week back.

Students stay in their lane as they make their way to their first class on the first day back. (Clarion photo staff photo)

Welcome back, Warriors! This has been a week to remember with Cleveland’s first fully open week since March of 2020. It’s been an astounding 77 weeks since we last did this school thing full time. As we slowly start moving forward, the cacophony of shoes, voices, and the dearly missed school bell fade from the forefront of one’s mind to a welcome background of constant buzz, as opposed to the deafening silence that greeted us last year.

We spoke to a few of your fellow classmates, and here’s what they had to say about the coming months. According to Jojo Wong, a sophomore, “It’s a lot more interesting than being home, it gives me something to do.”

Wong later mentioned his least favorite thing about being back is that, “I can’t avoid being called on.” Most students can agree with that statement, as the teachers scan the room, and heads drop, eyes are averted, and the room goes silent, the instant relief when it’s not you who gets picked.

Another sophomore, Jakob Ramos, said, “It’s easier to communicate with students and teachers.”

Ramos also said, “Obviously we are in a place with a lot of people, so it’s easy to contact/spread COVID.”

Some of the Cleveland staff felt glad about being back in person.

Brenda Gordon, a sophomore science teacher said, “We all needed to be back in person. It’s hard to teach science online. It’s a good learning experience to keep ourselves safe!”

Being asked if there were any cons about being back in school Gordon said, “You don’t get to see anyone’s faces, which is hard when you are trying to learn new peoples’ identity.”

Lots of staff at Cleveland seem to agree with Gordon and about not being able to see faces and the trouble with teaching and talking to students. However, they say that the pros of being back outweigh the cons.

We also spoke to Patrick Gonzales, an IB English and speech and debate teacher. When asked how things are going, he exclaimed, “Great! My students are alive and they’re willing, more so than in the digital world, where they were struggling and persevering; now they’re thriving!”

When asked if there were any cons he replied, “I don’t like it,” referring to the mask mandate. “But they’re necessary not to die!” He continued, “I’m hearing impaired and so lip reading is important to me. Masks are a barrier. But, my students are making it work by being patient with me.”

Gonzales addressed the problem with eating lunch outside at Powell Park. “I’m concerned about the rain and cold; we’re living on borrowed time. What happens when it starts raining? Kids will try to come in when a door opens, which will create conflict.”

Lastly we spoke to Lori Jane Burns, a new staff member at Cleveland who is working as an educational assistant. “Since walking into the doors of Cleveland for the first day until today I am amazed by the resiliency and wonder attitude I’m seeing from the young people who inhabit this building as a community.”

Since Cleveland has been open we have had many new safety precautions in place. Some of these include outdoor lunch at Powell Park for the first six weeks of school, no lockers to prevent clumps of students in hallways, detailed sign out sheets for contact tracing, and of course, a mask mandate.

And finally, we spoke to Jan Watt, special projects coordinator, about ways to enjoy our time at Cleveland.

“On the books right now, we are over 1700. In order to feel a part of the community you need to do something. If you just check in the morning and go to your four classes, and go home in the afternoon and do absolutely nothing, you are not in any way, shape, or form, enjoying the life of the school. And I’m not saying you have to show your exuberance every single day, but get involved in something,” she said.

When asked if there was any final advice for people who may never have stepped foot inside the school, she gave us this piece of advice, on how to get into the spirit of Cleveland.

“Do something, I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s a community service project you do once. I don’t care if you give blood once. I don’t care if you join a club, if you’re an athlete, if you’re a performer, if you’re a musician, if you are a robotics kid. If you’re speech and debate. We have so much we can do here. And you have to buy in. And my question to kids who don’t buy in? ‘why not?’ I don’t get it, why not? Is a video game more important to you than human interaction, and if the answer is yes, then bless your heart, I just don’t get it. Fair?”

She also mentioned to just go to part of an event, because it’s another way to get into the Cleveland culture.

“I don’t care if you go to a quarter of a football game, you’ve been to that quarter, you’ve participated in that particular life.”

We’ll leave you with this piece of advice from Watt.

“You have to buy into the life of your building, if you want to get anything out of it,” she said.